It is likely that most members of the Lord’s church are at least familiar with the words of Hebrews 10:25, and many can probably quote the verse.
“…not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day drawing night” (Heb. 10:25 ASV)
The verse is so well known, and has been spoken about so many times from our pulpits, that many Christians have come up with excuses to explain how this verse doesn’t apply to them. It is often said that the “forsaking” of the assembly involves completely abandoning the church, and does not refer to those who still attend some of the services of the church. It seems to be believed that it is ok to neglect to meet together with the saints on some occasions, so long as we do not completely abandon the assembly.
However, the admonitions surrounding that charge in the first part of verse 25 begs to differ with that position. In the latter part of the verse, rather than forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, we are expected to exhort (encourage, edify) one another. And in the preceding verse, the Word of God reads,
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…” (Heb. 10:24 ESV)
Again, it seems clear that there is an expectation that we ought to be doing whatever we can to encourage our brethren.
When a person willingly chooses not to gather together with the saints, they are missing that encouragement. A person cannot be encouraged by their brethren if they are not surrounded by their brethren. Likewise, a person cannot be an encouragement to the church unless he is actively participating in the body. In a third place, what does it say about one’s dedication to the Lord and His church when we willingly choose to be doing something else rather than gathering with the saints? Jesus warned of the dangers of being “lukewarm” in Revelation 3:15-16. To the church in Laodicea he said:
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16 ESV)
Many translations use the word “vomit” instead of spit in verse 16. That paints a pretty disgusting image, but a lukewarm church is disgusting to the Lord. When we choose to be absent from the assembly, what does that say about us? Let’s seek to always be an encouragement to our brethren, and to show that we are not lukewarm in our love for the Lord.
Jesus desire for his church was unity, and the amount of division among those who claim to be Christians is appalling. Our desire should match our Lord’s, but we cannot have unity unless we are united in Christ, in accordance with his world.
On Easter Sunday, many are mindful of the wonderful gift that God has given us in Christ. Since we have been given such a gift, we ought to respond accordingly. As we study Hebrews 10 together, we will work to understand what we should do in response to such an indescribable gift.
Whether in the time before Christ, under the Old Covenant, or in the Christian age, in the church, God has always had a plan for his people. Even through difficult situations, like the exile to Babylon, God had plans for his people. And he still has desires for his set apart people living in the world today.
We are one church, but we are all individual members of it. And Christ expects each of us to grow and build the church up in love. He has given us everything that we need in order to reach that goal, reaching maturity as Christians.
As Christians, we are called to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” As we walk as Christians, we must be united with our brethren in the Lord’s church. We cannot let division create a rift in our fellowship. It is imperative that we find unity on these seven foundations (the Seven Ones) of Eph. 4:4-6